Athletes go for the goldAthletes competing in the 2012 Olympics at London are focused on winning a gold medal. The athletes with Special Olympics North Dakota have the same goal — but mixed with a lot of fun.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
Athletes competing in the 2012 Olympics at London are focused on winning a gold medal. The athletes with Special Olympics North Dakota have the same goal — but mixed with a lot of fun.
Dickinson’s athletes and partners started the soccer and bocce season Tuesday with the first practice on fields next to the West River Community Center. Bowling will start in September.
The international summer Special Olympic games are held opposite years with the Olympics, said Ken Stockert, Special Olympics area director.
Stockert is looking for additional athletes and partners to register for the program. He would like a youth team, but is short players.
It’s the second year for partner Nicole Kristianson, who attends Dickinson State University.
“My favorite is basketball because I played in high school, but I enjoy soccer too,” she said.
Her advice for interested partners is to interact with the athletes.
“Make sure you know what you’re doing,” she said. “As long as you enjoy the games, you’ll do well.”
Lisa Brose has played as an athlete for several years.
“It’s been fun for me,” she said. “I like playing goalie even though I know it’s rough.”
She comes to practices Tuesdays and Fridays after work at Great Plains Clinic.
“It’s my fun activity to do,” she said.
Stockert said Special Olympics is open to anyone ages 8 and older.
“They are competitive, but play for the joy of playing,” he said.
Stockert has been involved with Special Olympics for 25 years.
“It’s the joy — just seeing those smiles,” he said.
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in Olympic-style sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The program gives opportunities to develop physical fitness, experience joy and share friendship with other athletes and their families.
Upcoming events include the soccer and bocce state tournament Sept. 15-16 in Grand Forks and the state bowling tournament Nov. 3-4 in Mandan.
For more information, call Stockert at 701-483-2079.